Faith leaders gather to promote immigration reform at Fresno State

Both Central Valley and national efforts are underway to give a voice to undocumented immigrants.
December 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Central Valley and national efforts are underway to give a voice to undocumented immigrants. Religious leaders and supporters of immigration reform are asking congress to provide a pathway to US citizenship. Some of those leaders held a rally and prayer at Fresno State Sunday afternoon.

Valley church leaders say there are 11 million undocumented workers living in the daily fear of deportation, and the bottom line is the current law tears apart families. The common belief is shared by everyone that took part in Sunday's event and it is one many other national groups share.

Dozens of people gathered at Fresno State's campus. They sang, they prayed, they stood united in a cause. Standing with the group was Irma Moreno. She was holding a sign that said "We have a dream too."

Her family immigrated to the US decades ago with no problem. But now, she has close friends with a different story. Some of her friends came to the US illegally and have families that live in everyday fear of deportation.

"These people are contributing to our system, they're paying taxes, and they're working," Moreno said.

The group that organized the event on Fresno State's campus is tied to the group that organized a hunger strike in Washington D.C. The group in Washington D.C. held the strike to show their commitment to change and pressure lawmakers to change current immigration laws. President Obama visited them Friday and showed his support.

The senate passed an immigration reform bill in the summer, but the House of Representatives have not scheduled a vote. Faith leaders are making an emotional appeal for them to do so.

"A lot of congregation members are undocumented citizens or documented citizens who have friends that are undocumented, you just break bread with people every day, work with people and you see the overwhelming need," Christopher Dreedlove from Fresno said.

Catholic priests along the US and Mexico borders wrote a letter to congress, urging them to act. The letter shared personal stories of people in their faith communities, living in fear of deportation, and families that have been torn apart. Stories that Irma Moreno says will continue to take place until the system is changed.

Organizers of Sunday's event say that they are sending some of their representatives to Washington D.C. on Dec. 11. They plan to meet with national group leaders as well as set up appointments with congressmen.


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